Moving from LCOL to HCOL -> what do I need to take into account?

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Slacker
Posts: 197
Joined: Thu May 26, 2016 8:40 am

Moving from LCOL to HCOL -> what do I need to take into account?

Post by Slacker » Sat Aug 12, 2017 4:53 pm

Hello,

We are investigating moving from Arizona to California (Southern California from Santa Barbara down to San Diego staying close enough to the coast to avoid the intense heat of areas like San Bernadino).
We work from home and our incomes will stay the same (between $225k-250k gross annually).

It looks like:
- groceries can be about 25% more expensive
- gasoline can be about 40% more expensive
- housing will be about 300% more expensive; we plan to downsize so that our housing expense is only increased by about 100% (currently pay $1450 for a 4bdrm/3bath/2car garage with pool 2800sq ft home and we will plan to try to find a 2 bdrm or 3bdrm apt, townhouse or house for $3000 or less)
- taxes will be about 125% more expensive
- insurance; unknown but we carry auto, renters, and umbrella policies
- utilities will go up in the winter for electricity but go way down during the summer and water will be cheaper (currently pay $100 just for the luxury of being connected to water and sewer before we get into the actual usage charges)
- going out to eat and the movies may be more expensive? We can see movies for around $10-13 for both of us here and eat a decent meal for about $35-50 for both of us with tips (though restaurants will be subjective based on personal preference)
- internet is expected to be much faster for similar cost (we carry 50Mbps down / 10Mbps up for $145/month for service 1 and 20Mbps down / 3 Mbps up for $35/month for service 2)

We don't commute to work, just the local grocery store and an occasional night out on the town so traffic time costs should not be a major factor for us.

Anything I am missing out on?
Anybody have opinions on Southern California areas they like that fit our budget (under $3000/month rent for minimum 2bdrm apt or better) without seeing more than a handful of days of triple digit temps (after spending two summers of 100+ days with daily highs over 100 degrees, I'm ready for a break from the heat)? Also hoping to find areas that are on the lower end of the air pollution spectrum (Ventura/Oxnard is looking pretty good so far with our list of "wants").

Goal33
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Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2015 12:30 pm

Re: Moving from LCOL to HCOL -> what do I need to take into account?

Post by Goal33 » Sat Aug 12, 2017 5:00 pm

You should take into account the schools. Not all the beach communities are affluent even though the prices seem high. I have spent 23 years living in Greater LA or greater SD. You don't want to send your kid to an Oxnard school.
A man with one watch always knows what time it is; a man with two watches is never sure.

Slacker
Posts: 197
Joined: Thu May 26, 2016 8:40 am

Re: Moving from LCOL to HCOL -> what do I need to take into account?

Post by Slacker » Sat Aug 12, 2017 5:43 pm

Goal33 wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 5:00 pm
You should take into account the schools. Not all the beach communities are affluent even though the prices seem high. I have spent 23 years living in Greater LA or greater SD. You don't want to send your kid to an Oxnard school.
Thank you for the additional input.

Schools will not be important for us as we do not have school age children. Potential for a nearby university/college being valuable in case we feel like taking classes for personal enrichment but not high up on the list.

WannabeEarlyRetiree
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Re: Moving from LCOL to HCOL -> what do I need to take into account?

Post by WannabeEarlyRetiree » Sat Aug 12, 2017 6:29 pm

If you live near the coast (<4 miles from ocean), electricity and gas bill are likely to stay the same year round.

We live near the ocean, we turned on AC for about 10days (at most) a year while most of my neighbors don't even have AC. If you prefer warmer indoor temperatures, you likely only needs it for Dec-March when night temperatures get much cooler.

Since school is not a factor, you should be able to find housing within your budget.

Mudpuppy
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Location: Sunny California

Re: Moving from LCOL to HCOL -> what do I need to take into account?

Post by Mudpuppy » Sat Aug 12, 2017 7:17 pm

Slacker wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 4:53 pm
We are investigating moving from Arizona to California (Southern California from Santa Barbara down to San Diego staying close enough to the coast to avoid the intense heat of areas like San Bernadino).
We work from home and our incomes will stay the same (between $225k-250k gross annually).
That's a pretty wide range of coastal California, covering a wide variety of communities, along with different costs of living. Insurance rates will also vary widely across that area. You might want to start by narrowing that down a bit. I'd look closely at crime metrics and school ratings (even if you don't have kids), as that will give you a good measure of the area. Also look closely at the solvency of the local government. For example, you wouldn't want to move to San Bernardino right now due to far more than the heat.
Slacker wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 4:53 pm
- utilities will go up in the winter for electricity but go way down during the summer and water will be cheaper (currently pay $100 just for the luxury of being connected to water and sewer before we get into the actual usage charges)
Not sure if that part of California is affected by the 123-TCP ruling, but water rates are expected to skyrocket in areas that are affected by that ruling. Water companies are being given a very short turn-around time to put in remediation efforts, so they're passing along those "rush" costs to customers.

Also, if you are in a PG&E electricity area instead of a municipal utility area, PG&E electricity rates are pretty high. Where you are considering will also have areas serviced by Southern California Edison instead of PG&E. There are several municipal districts between Santa Barbara and San Diego. Mileage varies by municipal utility district, but they're generally cheaper than SoCal or PG&E.
Slacker wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 4:53 pm
We don't commute to work, just the local grocery store and an occasional night out on the town so traffic time costs should not be a major factor for us.
It sounds like you should prioritize on a walkable community. California is very car-oriented, so finding a walkable community can be difficult. There are many communities built without a grocery store nearby. The closest grocery store to my house is about 2 miles away, but thankfully there are four grocery stores within a mile of work or between work and my house.
Slacker wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 4:53 pm
Anybody have opinions on Southern California areas they like that fit our budget (under $3000/month rent for minimum 2bdrm apt or better) without seeing more than a handful of days of triple digit temps (after spending two summers of 100+ days with daily highs over 100 degrees, I'm ready for a break from the heat)? Also hoping to find areas that are on the lower end of the air pollution spectrum (Ventura/Oxnard is looking pretty good so far with our list of "wants").
Even on the coast, there will be the occasional weather front that will cause warm temperatures. You should plan on it happening at least once if you're planning to spend many years in California. It's just the nature of weather here.

The farther away you get from the Los Angeles basin, the better the air quality should be. Also getting farther away from major highways will help.

sbaywriter
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Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2016 10:00 pm

Re: Moving from LCOL to HCOL -> what do I need to take into account?

Post by sbaywriter » Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:46 pm

No comments on prices, only weather and scenery: Ventura/Oxnard - beautiful and temperate. Miles of beaches and inland hiking in the hills I lived there long time ago (1980s) - the marine layer (think gray and foggy) keeps it lovely and cool (sometimes downright cold) during the summer. I prefer cool and overcast to hot and sunny, but Oxnard/Ventura seemed to have best of both worlds. - usually it would be overcast all morning and then burn off in the afternoon. If it's too cool and overcast, drive inland a little ways and you will be up in the hills in sunshine. Plus Santa Barbara is gorgeous and only a half hour or so drive up the coast.

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Watty
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Re: Moving from LCOL to HCOL -> what do I need to take into account?

Post by Watty » Sat Aug 12, 2017 11:02 pm

Slacker wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 4:53 pm
Anything I am missing out on?
Heathcare costs and earthquake insurance.

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